One of The Queen’s ponies, Emma, a Fell pony mare, made a moving appearance in proceedings for Her Majesty’s state funeral on Monday 19 September.
The Queen’s pony Emma stood relaxed during the funeral procession as hundreds marched towards Her Majesty’s final resting place. Emma’s handler Terry Pendry LVO, BEM, stud groom and manager to The Queen at Windsor Castle, bowed his head as The Queen’s coffin passed. Many horse lovers, as well as the wider public, were deeply touched that one of the horses who had played such an important role in Her Majesty’s favourite pastime should be part of the day.
In a feature in Horse & Hound in 2021, The Queen revealed her favourite horses for an article by Terry, who wrote: “Emma has been a wonderful servant to Her Majesty and [was] still going strong at the age of 24 as one of The Queen’s riding ponies.”
Even in recent years The Queen enjoyed riding in the grounds at Windsor, often accompanied by Terry. Her Majesty famously opted to ride in a headscarf rather than a hat. It was particularly poignant therefore that a headscarf was placed over Emma’s saddle as she stood waiting for The Queen’s coffin to pass.
It was after 2002 when her favourite home-bred riding horse Sanction passed away, that Her Majesty made the decision to start riding her native ponies rather than riding horses – “A little nearer to the ground, so to speak.”
It is not the first time Emma has played a part in important occasions, as Terry wrote: “The Fell Pony Society came to honour The Queen’s 90th birthday and said they would like to bring 90 ponies. They came with 120! They lined the red route of the castle for Her Majesty, who sat on His Royal Highness’ driving Fell pony team followed by Emma. It truly was a wonderful day.”
Such is the pony’s fame that in 2016 a Breyer model was made of her, in part to raise funds for the Fell Pony Society – of which Her Majesty was a patron – and Girlguiding.